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#mdcDiversity: Nov 13 - 17, 23

A sustainable approach to an inclusive research community


We are thrilled to announce the Kickoff Week of “MDC Diversity – a sustainable approach to an inclusive research community” project.

This endeavor aims to bring together our collective efforts in embedding principles of equity, respect, understanding, and appreciation for unique perspectives and backgrounds into the core culture of our community.
We received support from the Helmholtz Association Initiative and Networking Fund, as well as the MDC, to implement this innovative project over the next four years.
This exciting journey of innovation and positive impact deserves to start with a grand celebration. Therefore, we kindly request you to save the date and join us for a remarkable week:

MDC Diversity Kickoff
November 13-17
Max Delbrück Center Campus Buch & Mitte

Throughout the DEI Kickoff Week, we have a range of engaging activities planned that cater to different interests and perspectives. Here's a sneak peek:

Kickoff Meeting

November 13, 14:00 – 16:30h, MDC.C, Berlin-Buch

Participate in our kickoff meeting where we'll openly discuss DEI challenges, share experiences, and brainstorm ways to make our community even more welcoming.

14:00 Musical intro Russ Hodge
14:05 Welcome note Maike Sander & Heike Graßman
14:15 Intro speech: Charta der Vielfalt Petra Nibbe
14:20 Talk & Discussion: Diversity Dividends in the Life Sciences  Roshni Mooneram
15:00 Talk: Allyship Friederike Gutmann
15:10 Panel discussion: Allyship Sofia Forslund, Friederike Gutmann, Azizah Isyatul, Amir Kayvanjoo, Roshni Mooneram, Dominik Müller
15:40 Presentation: DEI Project Plan and Resources + Q&A Jean-Yves Tano, Sanja Drakulic, Michael Hinz
16:20  Musical outro Russ Hodge
16:25 Closing statement Maike Sander

Workshops and Learning Sessions

Join us for insightful workshops on topics such as transforming bias, cross-cultural communication, and creating an inclusive workspace. Please see the list and schedule of all workshops here.

Community activities, arts & sports

Embrace the spirit of unity through a variety of social activities, and sports events that celebrate our diverse talents. Please see the list and schedule of all activities here.

After-Hours Event

November 17, from 17:00, MDC-BIMSB, Berlin-Mitte

Relax and unwind during our after-hours event. Connect with colleagues, share stories, and celebrate our unique backgrounds. 
Together, we make a difference.


We have curated an exciting array of workshops focused on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion topics. All of them are designed to ignite meaningful conversations, foster inclusivity, and empower positive change within our organization.

[Registration deadline: November 08]

Transforming Bias 

Dr. Roshni Mooneram (English)

While most Unconscious Bias training ends with awareness of bias, this interactive workshop uses awareness as a starting point and equips participants to manage their biases and change behaviours and structures. A number of group activities are built in to enable participants to develop practical applicability in their work contexts.

This workshop equips participants with frameworks and tools, from the behavioural sciences, to transform their behaviours and practices with the aim of supporting diversity and enhancing team dynamics.

Trainer: Dr. Roshni Mooneram
Language: English

No of participants: 20
Date: Monday, November 13,
11:30 – 13:00h
Location: Axon 2, MDC.C, Berlin-Buch

Transforming Bias 

Jule Handschuh (Deutsch)

Unsere Welt ist geprägt von Vorurteilen und unbewussten Voreingenommenheiten, die unser Denken und Handeln beeinflussen. In diesem Kurzworkshop "Transforming Bias" werden wir gemeinsam auf eine Reise gehen, um uns unbewusster Vorurteile bewusst zu werden und Strategien zu entwickeln, wie wir im Alltag besser damit umgehen können.

Ziele des Workshops:
Bewusstsein schaffen: Die Teilnehmer*innen entwickeln ein tieferes Verständnis für unbewusste Vorurteile und werden sich ihrer eigenen Vorurteile bewusst. Reflexion und Selbstentwicklung: Der Workshop zielt darauf ab, die Fähigkeit zur Selbstreflexion zu fördern und den Teilnehmer*innen Werkzeuge an die Hand zu geben, um aktiv an ihrer eigenen Weiterentwicklung zu arbeiten. Praktische Anwendbarkeit: Am Ende des Workshops sind die Teilnehmer*innen in der Lage, im Alltag bewusster mit ihren Vorurteilen umzugehen und positive Veränderungen in ihrem Denken und Handeln vorzunehmen.

Einführung in das Thema Bias: Was sind unbewusste Vorurteile, woher kommen sie und wie beeinflussen sie unser Verhalten? Sensibilisierung und Reflexion: Durch interaktive Übungen werden wir unsere eigenen unbewussten Vorurteile erkennen und reflektieren. Strategien zur Veränderung: Wir werden verschiedene Techniken und Ansätze kennenlernen, um unsere Vorurteile aktiv zu hinterfragen und zu transformieren.

Trainerin: Jule Handschuh
Sprache: Deutsch

Anzahl der Teilnehmer*innen: 12
Datum: Montag, 13. November
09:00 – 12:00 Uhr
Ort: Dendrit 1, MDC.C, Berlin-Buch

Intercultural Competence

Prof. Gwenn Hiller (English)

Working in international teams, with people with different cultural and social codes, from different generations, geographical backgrounds and professional groups, creates opportunities for increased creativity and for more successful problem-solving strategies. In order to foster diversity and profit from its team benefits, it is important to build up the intercultural capacities across these institutions. This training opportunity focuses on successful communication strategies across cultural differences by providing a basis for recognizing and appreciating differences, identifying the strengths of different viewpoints and approaches.

The participants will have the opportunity to analyse situations and practice lifelike interactions in a set of dynamic activities for the development and improvement of their cross-culture communication skills.

Goals: Build intercultural capacities, recognize and appreciate cultural differences, learn to communicate efficiently across cultures, avoid cultural missteps and blunders, successfully address misinterpretations and misunderstandings.

Trainer: Prof. Gwenn Hiller
Language: English
No of participants: 15
Date: Monday, November 13
09:00 – 12:00h
Location: B84, R.1207, Berlin-Buch

Interkulturelle Kompetenz

Prof. Gwenn Hiller (Deutsch)

Die Arbeit in internationalen Teams, mit Menschen unterschiedlicher kultureller und sozialer Codes, verschiedener Generationen, geographischer Hintergründe und Berufsgruppen, schafft Chancen für mehr Kreativität und erfolgreichere Problemlösungsstrategien. Um die Vielfalt zu fördern und von den Vorteilen für die Teams zu profitieren, ist es wichtig, die interkulturellen Kompetenzen zu stärken. Diese Fortbildung konzentriert sich auf erfolgreiche Kommunikationsstrategien über kulturelle Unterschiede hinweg, indem sie eine Grundlage für das Erkennen und die Wertschätzung von Unterschieden schafft und die Stärken unterschiedlicher Standpunkte und Ansätze herausarbeitet.

Die Teilnehmer*innen werden die Möglichkeit haben, Situationen zu analysieren und lebensnahe Interaktionen in einer Reihe von interaktiven Aktivitäten zu üben, um ihre interkulturellen Kommunikationsfähigkeiten zu entwickeln und zu verbessern.

Ziele: Aufbau interkultureller Fähigkeiten, Erkennen und Wertschätzen kultureller Unterschiede, Erlernen effizienter kulturübergreifender Kommunikation, Vermeidung kultureller Fehltritte und Fehler, erfolgreicher Umgang mit Fehlinterpretationen und Missverständnissen.

Trainerin: Prof. Gwenn Hiller
Sprache: Deutsch
Anzahl der Teilnehmer*innen: 15
Datum: Mittwoch, 15. November,
09:00 – 12:00 Uhr
Ort: B84, R.1207, Berlin-Buch

Inclusive Language 

In-Visible (English)

What is inclusive language? What types of inclusive language are there? What is the potential of inclusive language? Accessible language - physical accessibility, plain language, avoidance of colloquialisms. Gender-appropriate language - pronouns, gender-neutral language, implicitly gendered terms, gender norms. Culturally sensitive language - language norms and assumptions, human-centered communication, avoiding stereotypes. Reflection exercises. Looking forward - How do I deal with my own mistakes?

Trainers: In-Visible, online
Language: English
No of participants: 100
Date: Tuesday, November 14
13:00 – 14:00h
Location: online

Inklusive Sprache

In-Visible (Deutsch)

Was ist inklusive Sprache? Welche Arten von inklusiver Sprache gibt es? Welches Potenzial hat inklusive Sprache? Barrierefreie Sprache - Physische Zugänglichkeit, Leichte Sprache, Vermeiden von Umgangssprache. Gendergerechte Sprache - Pronomen, geschlechtsneutrale Sprache, implizit geschlechtsbezogene Begriffe, Geschlechtsnormen. Kultursensible Sprache - Sprachliche Normen und Annahmen, menschenzentrierte Kommunikation, Vermeiden von Stereotypen. Reflexionsübungen. Nach vorne blickend - Wie gehe ich mit eigenen Fehlern um?

Trainers: In-Visible, online
Sprache: Deutsch

Anzahl der Teilnehmer*innen: 100
Datum: Montag, 13. November
Zeit: 10:00 – 11:00 Uhr

Ort: online

Community Building

Tijana Perovic / Dragonfly (English)

The workshop will be structured into three parts:

  • intro to mental health - navigating our psychological landscapes
  • lived experiences of invited speakers - people who have battled the complexities of academic life and ways of coping with isolation and stigmatization of mental health issues 
  • workshop on how to build communities: mental health/mindfulness peer support, LGBTQIA+ peer support, immigration peer support, parenthood support and sport enthusiast interest group (volleyball, swimming, yoga, running, etc)

The participants will leave the workshop with a peer support starter group, list of recommended resources for mental health support and specific guidelines on next steps (how to continue growing/maintaining your group at MDC).

Trainers: Tijana Perovic / Dragonfly
No of participants: 15
Language: English
Date: Wednesday, November 15,
Time: 13:00 – 17:00h
Location: B84, R.1007, Berlin-Buch

Democratization of Science 

David Peran / Jennifer Kirwan (English)

In today's rapidly evolving world, scientific advancements play a pivotal role in shaping our future. However, traditional models of scientific research often create barriers that hinder access, participation, and collaboration among diverse groups of people. The "Democratization of Science" workshop aims to address these challenges and foster a more inclusive, accessible, and collaborative scientific ecosystem with a focus on creating partnerships with global south researchers. Join our speakers David Peran, Jennifer Kirwan, Daniel Mutithu for the discussion. 

  • Concept: Explore the meaning and significance of the democratization of science, emphasizing its potential to make science more accessible to everyone.
  • Open Science Practices: Discuss open access, open data, and open-source software as key components of democratizing science.
  • Addressing issues of the Global South in getting access to scientific resources: Explore the problems with visas, publications, and funding.
  • Ethical Considerations: Address ethical concerns and challenges associated with the democratization of science, such as data privacy and misinformation.
  • Case Studies: Analyze real-world examples of successful democratization initiatives at the MDC.

Trainers: David Peran / Jennifer Kirwan / Daniel Mutithu
No of participants: 20
Language: English
Date: Friday, November 17
Time: 15:00 – 16:30h
Location: R. 2.04, MDC-BIMSB, Berlin-Mitte

Intersektionalität, Vielfalt und Machtverhältnisse. Welche Rolle spielen sie am Arbeitsplatz?

Ricke Merigri (Deutsch)

In diesem Workshop werden wir uns mit dem Konzept der Intersektionalität sowie den vielschichtigen Aspekten sozialer Identitäten auseinandersetzen. Durch Selbstreflexion, Diskussion und Austausch streben wir an, ein gemeinsames Verständnis für Begriffe wie Vielfalt, Mehrfachidentitäten und Machtverhältnisse zu entwickeln, während wir unsere eigenen unterschiedlichen Positionierungen und Erfahrungen bewusst wahrnehmen und sichtbarer machen. Mit dieser Brille wollen wir den Alltag am Arbeittsplatz betrachten und mögliche Veränderungen anregen.

Konkret werden wir uns mit folgenden Themen beschäftigen:

  • Unterschiede und Gemeinsamkeiten in Gruppen
  • Identität, Intersektionalität und Machtverhältnisse
  • Gesetzgebung zur Antidiskriminierung in Deutschland und Berlin, insbesondere das Allgemeine Antidiskriminierungsgesetz (AAG) und das Berliner Landesantidiskriminierungsgesetz (LADG)

​​​​​Wir freuen uns auf eine offene und bereichernde Diskussion über die Komplexität der Intersektionalität und deren Bedeutung für unseren täglichen Leben.

Trainerin: Ricke Merigri
Sprache: Deutsch
Anzahl der Teilnehmer*innen: 12
Datum: Dienstag, 14. November
Zeit: 09:00 – 12:00 Uhr

Ort: Dendrit 1, MDC.C, Berlin-Buch


Community activities

Embrace the spirit of unity through a variety of social activities, arts and sports events that celebrate our diverse talents.

[Registration deadline: November 08]


Berta Block Boulderhalle Berlin

Bouldering is a style of rock climbing that entails ascending short routes of varying difficulty levels without the aid of ropes or harnesses. The Boulderhalle is an indoor facility, so please wear appropriate sportswear for indoor activities. Climbing shoes can be rented at the entrance for a fee of 4 euros. Everyone will gather at the entrance at the designated start time, where we will register and form groups of 2-4 people.

No of participants: 10
Date: November 14
Start: 16.00/17.00h
Duration: 2 hours
Location: Berta Block Boulderhalle Berlin, Mühlenstraße 62, 13187 Berlin

Organizer: Peter Lund Ovesen & Inga Patarcic

Dancing class

Luxemburger Str. 31

Pole dancing is a type of exercise that combines elements of dance and acrobatics. There are different styles of pole dancing, some with a focus on fitness and others incorporating modern dance techniques. Each class usually starts with a warm-up before moving on to pole exercises. Please wear sports clothes that allow skin contact with the pole, as much as you're comfortable with. Also, don't forget to bring a towel. Christina will be leading the class:

No of participants: 11
Date: November 14
Start: 15:00h
Location: Luxemburger Str. 31

Organizer: Friederike Gutmann

Yoga with Leda Fay

Leda Fay Yoga / DreamLab Yoga Flow (English)

Leda Fay is a Yoga Alliance certified yoga teacher based in Berlin. She was trained in hatha, vinyasa, yin, restorative, clinical somatics, myofascial release, gong, and sound meditation as well as in yogic and Buddhist philosophy. As a passionate storyteller, she uses myth and symbolic thought to convey the deeper message of yoga, teaching you how to live yoga on and off the mat.

No of participants: 25
Date: November 14
Start: 18:00h
Duration: 75 min
Language: English
Location: Elsa Neuman Room (0.61), MDC-BIMSB, Berlin-Mitte

Organizer: Sanja Drakulic

Don’t forget to bring your mat!

Yoga mit Laura Grambow

Laura Grambow Yoga (Deutsch)

In meiner Arbeit kombiniere ich verschiedene Elemente aus den Bereichen der Achtsamkeit und dem Stressmanagement. Zu dem klassischen Vinyasa-Yin-Yoga, leite ich geführte Meditationen und Autogenes Training an. Es werden Atemtechniken und Progressive Muskelrelaxation erlernt und Wissen in den Bereichen der Resilienz-Stärkung und Gesundheitspsychologie vermittelt.

Anzahl der Teilnehmer*innen: 25
Datum: November 14
Beginn: 18:00h
Dauer: 90 min
Sprache: Deutsch
Ort: Axon 2, MDC.C, Berlin-Buch

Veranstalter: Jean-Yves Tano

Bitte bringen Sie Ihre Yogamatte mit!

Ping-pong tournament

Ping-pong competition

Ping-pong competition between teams of 2 contesters. Please enter your team’s name in the registration form!

No of participants: 24 (12 teams)
Date: November 15
Start: 18:00h
Duration: 2 hours
Language: German/English
Location: MDC.C foyer, Berlin-Buch

Organizer: Jean-Yves Tano

Pflegefrühstück: Mein Wille zählt – Patientenverfügung und Vorsorgevollmacht

Gabriele Kollinger & Denise Nußbaum (Deutsch)

Wer regelt Ihre Angelegenheiten, wenn Sie es nicht mehr können? Jede*r kann unabhängig vom Alter in Situationen geraten, in der andere für sie/ ihn entscheiden müssen.Es reicht eben nicht aus, einfach eine schriftliche Willenserklärung zu unterschreiben. Verschiedene Möglichkeiten bieten sich an: Patientenverfügung, Vorsorgevollmacht und Betreuungsverfügung.

Unter dem Motto "Mein Wille zählt" stellt die Referentin, Denise Nußbaum, die Grundlagen und Möglichkeiten zur Vorsorge vor. Auch für weiterführende Fragen steht sie dabei gerne zur Verfügung. Mit dem 7. MDC Pflegefrühstück möchten wir dazu beitragen,  dass interessierte Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter informierte Entscheidungen für ihre persönliche Vorsorge treffen können.

No of participants: 45
Date: November 16
Start: 09:30h
Duration: 2 hours
Language: German
Location: MDC.C Axon 2, Berlin-Buch

Organisatorin: Gabriele Kollinger

Book Club

Marta Cipinska (English)

As the leaves turn golden and the days go shorter, there’s nothing quite like a long evening with a good book. Everyone who likes reading and discovering new books is invited to our first MDC Book Club event. We will celebrate the MDC Diversity Kickoff by discussing the books in the theme: ‘Diversity, equity and inclusion’.

Each of us will present a book related to the theme (or a book of your choice) in a 5-minute pitch. You don’t need to make a summary of the whole book (avoid spoilers). Instead, share the main message, writing style, information about the author, what made you read this book, and what you liked/disliked. Afterward, we will have a general discussion about the theme and books.

No of participants: 20
Date: November 16
Start: 16:30h
Duration: 2 hours
Language: English
Location: R. 1.04 MDC-BIMSB, Berlin-Mitte

Organizer: Marta Cipinska

Piano concert

Students of Prof. Galina Iwanzowa-Bielka

Music Meets Science charity concert. The Association of Friends of the MDC is happy to invite all fans of classical music to a concert of young musicians demonstrating their skills. Among others are the 7-year-old Constanze Bang Seng (piano) and her sister Elvira Bang Seng (9 years, violin). In addition, the 9-year-old Xunliang Fan will once again interpret Bach, as well as Chopin, for us on the piano.

The concerts are possible thanks to the great commitment of their music teacher, and pianist Prof. Galina Iwanzowa-Bielka.

Admission is free, but donations for the organization of further concert events of the Association of Friends of the MDC and the reconstruction of the tower of the Schlosskirche Buch are welcome.

Date: November 16
Start: 17:00h
Language: music
Location: MDC.C, Axon 1, Berlin-Buch

Organizer: The Association of Friends of the MDC


Recipes from around the world

Share your favorite recipe with us

Dear colleagues and cooking enthusiasts, dear friends of good food,
It's time for a second round of your favorite recipes from around the world!

During the summer, we collected your first recipes, and the result (see attachment) whetted our appetite for more. We continue to gather recipes for our unique MDC cookbook featuring dishes from various regions around the world. Whether sweet or savory, breakfast or dinner, carnivorous or vegan, simple or haute cuisine - we look forward to every contribution. Our Science-Food cookbook is planned to be produced next year.

We invite you all:

Bring your favorite recipe to the DEI Kick-Off on November 13 at MDC.C and share it with the community!

What do you need to do? Not much: Simply fill in the ingredients and instructions in the attached template. Feel free to share interesting stories or backgrounds about your favorite dish. Please bring the printed recipe with you to the DEI Kick-Off in the MDC.C foyer.

We are excited about your diverse and delicious ideas!

P.S.: Just to clarify- you don’t have to cook the dish! It's sufficient if you bring the recipe or send it to us via email at:

We are very grateful to the Helmholtz Association Initiative and Networking Fund for providing funds for the realization of this project. Events in the MDC Diversity Kickoff Week are further supported by the Association of Friends of the MDC.


MDC Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Survey (DEI) 2023

When it comes to different diversity dimensions at the MDC, their unique experiences, and needs, we still lack the comprehensive image. Therefore, we are very excited to announce that the first big step of the MDC Diversity project, the (confidential, anonymous, voluntary) MDC DEI Survey 2023, is finally here!

This survey is conducted by Dr. Roshni Mooneeram (director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion of the London School of Tropical Hygiene and Medicine, LSTHM), who acts as consultant for the DEI project at the MDC. To find reasonable measures for dealing with differences, we need data. Without concrete data, we are tapping in the dark.

MDC employees are kindly invited to complete this survey, the outcome of which will enable us to better understand the needs of MDC employees and structure our services accordingly. The survey is voluntary, anonymous and confidential – raw data won’t be available to anyone within the MDC but exclusively to the external consultant.

More details and link for participation are available on the MDC Intranet.


Why the DEI Survey?

  • To collect demographic data and gain insight into the demographic baseline and composition of diversity dimensions at the MDC
  • To gather comprehensive information on opinions and experiences on the DEI topics, to better understand our community, measure perceptions, and address concerns of different diversity dimensions at the MDC
  • To identify priorities and concrete action needs, develop informed policies and initiatives, with the aim of creating more tolerant and inclusive research and work environment